Best resources

On this page, we list some of the best sources of careers advice and information we’ve found elsewhere.

Basic information on specific career paths

Occupational Outlook Handbook from the US Bureau of Labour Statistics

The online BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook has profiles on many broad categories of occupation provided by the US government. It’s a good place to look to find lists of different occupations when you’re just starting to think about your options. It also has job descriptions, skills required, pay, work environment information, and demand growth projections.

ONET

ONET is a US Department of Labour website that contains detailed profiles on different occupations. It is the most systematic and evidence-based source we’ve found that covers what jobs involve and what skills are required (collected via self-report1). For each job it has a summary report and you can see all their data on each job by clicking on the details tab in one of the job profiles.

Prospects

The UK equivalent to ONET, specializing in graduate careers, is Prospects. It also has career profiles broken down by sector, containing basic information such as what the role involves and salary at different levels.

In-depth career profiles

Wetfeet

Two sites:

You can register on wetfeet.com and get access to articles and Q&As with hiring managers at major companies.

They also have schools.wetfeet.com which is a more comprehensive career advice site with advice articles, testimonials from people at various companies describing their work life and guides to help with getting a job.

We’ve found Wetfeet’s in-depth guides to be high-quality sources of information for major corporate careers such as consulting.

Vault

Vault is a source of in-depth career analysis.

Careers in business

Includes subsites on finance, consulting, and marketing, among others. It’s particularly useful as a collection of links to other useful sites.

Resources specialising in specific careers

Note that there are many other websites, communities and books that specialise in certain types of careers. When we’re aware of these, we’ll include them in our relevant career profile. If you’re interested in a certain career area, it’s well worth doing a quick search for these.

General career advice

Making Good

Making Good is a book about how to find a job that pays the bills and makes a difference. It’s supported by an excellent web site containing 50 exercises to help you find a good job.

What color is your parachute

This is the most popular guide to getting a job. It’s a useful overview of all the common-sense practical advice for job seeking.

How to apply to jobs

Ramit Sethi and find your dream job

Ramit Sethi provides advice on how to earn more money and find a better job. He’s particularly good on interview preparation, negotiation and applying for jobs. You have to pay for his full courses, but he gives out a lot of content for free.

Salary information

The career profiles listed above contain salary information, however there often problems with government salary data, such as not including bonuses. For this reason we also find it useful to use:

Salary.com

Salary.com collates data on the salaries of jobs in the US that is more fine-grained than government data. They also categorise careers by seniority – for example, Software engineer I, II, and III – so you can trace expected earnings increases as you get promoted. Each job has both median and other percentile data and you can see salary + bonuses as well as basic salary.

Salary.com appears to be the best-quality non-government source of salary data. They take use employer-reported salaries and more than 90% of the job salaries listed take data from 100 or more people in that job.2 They also have data on salaries by location, but since they calculate it by adjusting national averages using a weighting factor rather than by presenting actual salary data by location it might be better to use the BLS occupational employment statistics handbook for location-based salary information.

Glassdoor

Glassdoor’s salary data is taken from self-reports by people who register on the site and is displayed by company, so it’;s less useful for getting an overview of salaries by job type. However, glassdoor is excellent for doing research when you’re thinking about which companies to apply to. As well as the salary data they have job adverts, reviews of each company by employees, and summaries of interviews at different companies written by people who have interviewed there.

UK Office of National Statistics Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings

Less detailed than the US BLS data but it covers earnings for different job categories. You can get the report here and the data here.

Other sources of information

University careers services

University careers service websites may be helpful. e.g. the University of London’s careers group has advice as well as information on many different industries. Your local university careers service will also have a library of books and resources for career research.

Quora

A question-and-answer site that you can search – often the people answering are experienced professionals. It’s useful for getting an insider perspective on many jobs and is especially strong for tech jobs and non-technical jobs associated with the software industry (e.g. sales and online marketing).

Lists of top companies

For example, the Sunday Times 100 best companies to work for or Vault’s top 100 Law firms. Google to find lists for your preferred industry.

Careers fairs

Search for ones in your local area. Often they are organised by university careers services but there are also industry-specific fairs as well, such as the Consultancy careers fair and tech-startup careers fair Siliconmilkroundabout


  1. See this site for an overview of how they collect their data. In addition, we contacted ONET for clarification. From an email with ONET:

    The primary method for collecting this information is the establishment method, a survey of workers employed in a national probability sample of establishments. This method essentially uses a stratified two-stage design in which businesses (the primary stage) are selected with probability proportional to the expected number of employed workers in the specific occupations being surveyed, and a sample of workers (the secondary stage) is selected in the occupations within the sampled businesses. In addition to this primary method, alternative or supplementary methods include sampling from professional and trade association membership lists and sampling from lists of identified occupation experts. It should be noted that ONET occupational information is composite information from many jobs and therefore is not intended to describe a particular job. With all methods, the ONET survey instruments Questionnaires are used.

  2. You can read more about salary.com methodology here and here